Video: Domestic Violence Shelter to Implement Prevention Program for Abusers

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COLUMBUS, Miss (WCBI) – Domestic violence is the main cause of injury to women in the United States. In Lowndes County, hundreds of domestic violence cases are tried in court each year. Now a new prevention program could help reduce those incidents of domestic violence.

One in three teenage American girls will experience some of form of physical abuse. Safe Haven is a domestic violence shelter for women in Lowndes County that wants to address the issue, by helping men change their behavior.

“Mississippi is ranked #2 in incidents of domestic violence,” says Joyce Tucker, the Executive Director of Safe Haven, an emergency shelter for women who experience domestic abuse.

Tucker wants to implement a Domestic Violence Intervention Program that focuses on the offender, mainly men, who need to learn to change their attitudes towards women and their violent behavior.

“We plan on using the Duluth model which addresses the core reasons for domestic violence and that’s power and control,” says Tucker.

Research shows that 85% of domestic abuse victims will return to their abuser. Tucker says rehabilitating the offender benefits victims, who can return to a non-violent environment. The program will have to be approved by the judicial system, which will require offenders to take part in the 6-month program at Safe Haven.

“It’s a case by case basis and what’s best for that offender and the victim in these cases. Certainly we would love to talk with the people that are implementing this program and see if we can’t get it started here in Lowndes County Justice Court,” says Justice Court Judge Ron Cooke, of District 2 in Lowndes County.

Municipal Court Judge Nicole Clinkscales of Columbus agrees that the new program could have a major impact on the community.

“The community obviously is going to be the better for it because if we can curb or if we can hopefully even prevent it, and end it altogether, the community is safer, our women and children primarily, who are the victims of domestic abuse, they’re safer. Then they don’t become menaces to society because of their cycle of abuse,” says Columbus Municipal Court Judge Nicole Clinkscales.

To launch the program, Safe Haven will need about $2,000 to train facilitators. Offenders will then pay a fee to participate in the class. Last year, Lowndes County reviewed over 100 domestic violence cases. The new program at Safe Haven could be the key to reducing the rate of violence against women in Mississippi.

Tucker also says the program has been implemented in Pearl with a high rate of success. Ninety-five percent of the offenders who take part in the Domestic Violence Intervention Program do not re-offend. She’s also hoping to implement the program in all 10 counties that Safe Haven serves in North Mississippi.

Categories: Crime, Local News

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